Sunday, January 31, 2010

Have We Really Been Here a Week?

Posted by Colleen

Best read from the blog, not the email, click the link above to get to it.
(Hover your mouse over the pics for descriptions, click to enlarge).

the move to Hanasi! leaving Ha Rav Chen Let me back up a few days to catch you up. The day before we moved out of our temporary apartment on Ha Rav Chen, we made a trip over to our new, “permanent” apartment on Hanasi. Because the apartment wouldn’t be ready until 1/28, we had to stay somewhere for our first week. But now it was time to move to our “permanent” Israeli home. It was just a short walk but we did bring 19 bags, ugh. The new apartment is on the bottom floor with a garden out back. While visiting, we were snapping some shots of our place and the President’s house across the street. As I was snapping, the guard in front of the President’s house came over and in his broken English, began asking us many questions. Between his broken English and our really broken Hebrew, we had a pretty descent conversation. Walking away, we realized that we had been interrogated by the President’s secret service. Cool, uh? He was really nice and I assume he found us to be harmless. We told him that we would be living there the next day.

Park near HaRev Chen apartmentThat night I took the girls to a park just down the street. While there, we met a Jewish family from Australia. They had a 4 year old son named Sedi. He and Lillian had a good time. The lady was in school at the Hebrew University and the man was a composer/writer for movies. It was fun swapping stories of why we were there. While we talked, the girls played. The see-saw could sit 4 people. You know how when someone jumps off the see-saw and you fall to the ground… HARD? Well, this one had rubber tires 1/2 buried below the sand so your landing was very, well, very rubbery and bouncy.

Family of Herod's tomb, unmarked and open for publicKing Herod's Family Tomb







The next morning we started the move to Hanasi. We started with our largest  bags. Eric, Tally and I all had a backpack and our largest suitcases. Celine pulled the next largest suitcase while Lillian pulled her little carry-on. It took us about  23 minutes to get to our new apartment. We took a shorter way back which took 11 minutes. The next set of suitcases weren’t YMCA building--one of the most elegant and beautiful building in Jerusalemas big so we took the short cut up many stairs. It was difficult but shorter. Our last trip was a sinch with only a few bags. After all that, Eric and I thought it would be fun to treat the girls to a meal at McDonalds. On the map it didn’t look too far… We did well following the  roads but there was no “Donalds.” However, we did manage to see some King David Hotel--right across the street from YMCA beautiful sights on the way—Mishkenot Sheananim neighborhood, Herod’s Family Tomb, YMCA, King David Hotel, Hagia Maria Abbey, Yemen Moshe, etc. If we hadn’t started out exhausted it would have been a little better but seeing all these things in one day’s walk is still amazing. Oh, and the “Donalds” we were looking for—we think was a residence in Mishkenot Sheananim (the first neighborhood built outside Old City in 1860).   Note the YMCA of Jerusalem above (click for larger view)!

So we settled for a couple slices of pizza and 2 pretzels in the Mamilla Mall just outside the Jaffa Gate. The man enjoyed helping us order in Hebrew. I am Windmill at Mishkenot Sheananimmore apt to try out my Hebrew and get it wrong than Eric. I find it fun to be corrected. The other day, instead of saying “Good night,” I said, “Evening meal.” In other words, I said, “Ahoohot [meal] Erev [evening],” when I should have said, “Erev [evening] tov [good].” The girl smiled at me and was probably thinking, “what, is she having all this for dinner?” I didn’t realize my mistake until I was 1/2 way home. I laughed so hard at myself. Anyway, while the girls had ice cream after our dinner, I enjoyed a hot cup of “American” coffee. It was a long, cold walk home but we finally made it safe and sound. Ice Cream at mall in Mamilla, just outside Old City

We are enjoying the new apartment. It isn’t as big but it is dry (the other one was very humid and we think moldy) and all our suitcases are unpacked so it feels more like home. AND we don’t have to keep a kosher kitchen. : ) BTW: we were asked if the Burger King in the mall was kosher—yes, it was (just no cheese burgers). Celine and Lillian are  sharing one room and Tally sleeps on Mamilla Mall in front of Crocs storethe pull out sofa. We have a garden out back that has provided a nice place to dry clothes and for the girls to play. Celine and Lillian spent a couple of hours clearing the yard of brush and setting up our picnic table the other day. Monday, we hope to make it to the market and bring home some flowers to plant.

Yesterday, Lida came and picked us up again. She wanted to show us the souk. A really big famous market in the center of Jerusalem. Before the souk we went into downtown modern Jerusalem, first to her brother’s poster shop. He has the greatest collection of posters and artwork of Israel. He gave us a beautiful picture he took of Lida’s daughter praying at the Western Wall wearing her military uniform, gun and all. Everyone serves in the military here except religious Jewish men who are exempt because of their prayers for Israel.

Tree Day Holiday at Center in Jerusalem Lillian got a carnation at Holiday

Celine in front of a large foam tree.

Celine, Lida and Tally eating ice cream at the Center.We found McDonalds in the CenterFrom there, she took us to a celebration that was going on. They were having their  1st Annual Tree Day in the Center. It was much like you would see on 6th Street in Austin or any downtown; bands, dancing and crowds of people. Lida treated us to some ice cream before heading off to the big souk. We stopped for schwarma on the way. Schwarma is a street food that you find  everywhere falafel is sold. The meat looks like gyro meat. They use a lot of vegetables, hummus,  tahini, cucumber, tomato, and strangely enough… french fries.



Lillian, me, Lida and Celine at CenterThe souk was enormous, loud and crowded. Lida said that because of the Holiday, good weather and it being Friday, it was more crowded than normal. We got some groceries and then headed back home. Lida was on her way to celebrate her mom’s birthday.

BTW: I met Lida through my friend Karen who lives in Kyle, but grew up in  Jerusalem and used to babysit Lida’s son Dror.  Dror is now a young man spices at marketwho travels to Austin every year which is how I met him. He introduced me to his mom, Lida, who is originally from Persia (Iran). She came to Jerusalem in ‘72 as a junior in High School, her family later followed. She worked on a kibbutz her first 2 years.

A kibbutz is an Israeli communal settlement in which all wealth is held in common and profits are reinvested in the settlement. The first kibbutz was founded in Palestine in 1909; most have since been agricultural. Adults live in private quarters; children are generally housed and cared for as a group. Meals are prepared and eaten communally. Members have regular meetings to discuss business and to take votes on matters requiring decisions. Jobs may be  assigned by rotation, by choice, or by skill. The kibbutz movement declined dramatically in the late 20th century. But kibbutzim continued to play in important role in the tourism industry in Israel, attracting students and other short-term residents, mostly Jews from overseas seeking a link with the past. Lida says that they aren’t as community-oriented these days but more commercial. They are still worth visiting though and uniquely Israeli.

Old City wall leading to MT Zion on rt, Hagia Maria Abbey, JUC on far right. Hagia SionZion GateYesterday afternoon, we figured we needed to find where Eric’s school is located so we grabbed our map and off we went.(Refer to the pic of Celine above for JUC, Jerusalem University College). To get there, you walk past some beautiful homes here in the Talbieh neighborhood, where we live. Then it is down the Yemen Moshe street, located in the View from Zion Gate overlooking Mt OlivesMishkenot Sheananim, into the Hinnom Valley then straight back up the other side. The school is just outside the Zion Gate of Old C ity in a building built in 1853. The Hagia Maria Abbey is between the two. 

On our way home, since it was Friday, we decided to go to the Jewish Celebration at the Western Wall. OK, this was amazing. Pictures truly do not do this justice. To get into the plaza, yes, you must go through a metal detector.  There are no cameras, note taking or cell phones allowed, out of respect to the worshippers.

Wailing Wall on Shabbat

(Click for original detailed pic in new window)

The women worship to the right and the men to the left. Every type of Jew was present and they came in the droves. There were as many coming as there were going. Lillian and I used the restroom while there and I couldn’t get the hand drier to come on. A girl kept saying, “Shabbot, Shabbot.” I finally got it and was like, “ohhh, right” – no machines are to be used on Shabbot. What has been obvious is the massive migration back to Israel by the Jewish people. Because they were dispersed to so many countries, they have come back with many different dress codes and cultural characteristics. This was incredible to see at the Western Wall.

Old City wall. The tower is part of the Hagia Maria Abbey. JUC is just beyond that. The wall is massive and part of it is buried underground.

View in Jewish neighborhood outside Zion Gate On our way home, we met an American soldier, about our age, who had just retired after 22 years in the service. He and his family had been living in Germany and were about to settle in Texas but wanted to spend 3 weeks in Israel beforehand—sound familiar? He was so excited about what  he was seeing in Jerusalem regarding the Arabs coming to know the Lord. Of course, this is huge seeing that Muslims don’t take this lightly. He told of another church that every week looks out over Jerusalem and prays for specific spots. It was so exciting to hear him tell of what he had seen.

He was also on his way back from the Western Wall. His wife home schools also, which in Germany is illegal but because he was with the military, he had some kind of exception. He said Even the cats come to pray...Cat in front of Wailing Wall on Shabbatthere is a lot of persecution in leftist Germany. Sad, right? We got home late that night which wasn’t a  good thing because Eric is still very sick. But this morning he was at school by 8am. He got to eat with the other students and go through orientation. He got a lot of great information and is excited about his field trips. We met up with him at 3:30pm for a student scavenger hunt through Old City. Eric and I felt bad for the students that got stuck with “the family.” However, it proved to work to their advantage because we kinda  knew our way around Old City. It was a lot of fun. Afterwards, Eric gave us a tour of the school, we ate dinner and came home. Oh, I did meet a lady that has a niece in Buda that home-schools. Her name is Shirley and the name of one of her nephews’ was Payton… small world.

JUC Fancy Sign Well, that was long. I guess that is what happens when we don’t write for a few days. Thanks again for all your sweet and encouraging letters to us. We LOVE them.



Unknown said...

Good to hear about the last few days. Sorry to hear Eric is sick, allergies? a bug?
We look every day to see what you're doing, and love all the photos.

Tina said...

I'm praying that Eric is beginning to feel better.
Okay, can I say that I am so jealous of all the places that you guys are visiting. It is awesome!

Nye Family said...

Hi Robishaws,

So glad you've made it safely to Israel and are beginning to settle into your 'permanent' pad. It's quiet around here without the 'shaws on the block. The girls desperately miss y'all and Hayden has already begun to talk about visiting Dallas. In the meantime, I believe I still owe you a couple of addresses - I forgot who. May God be with you on your fantastic journey and give you what you need during your time there.

The Nyes

Carole L Robishaw said...

I think you're having way too much fun!

Seeing all the photos and reading what you're doing almost as good as being there!

Love ya

Beth said...

I love reading this stuff! I can't imagine what kind of shape you all will be in with all that hill walking you've been doing! I'm recognizing names of places from the Bible and need to go back put stories with them. Hey, got an idea...when you get a little more settled and things calm down to a daily routine, would you give us a history lesson about the State of Israel....For example, I know it wasn't an official state before WWII but after the devastation of the Holocaust and so many displaced Jews, the State of Israel was created. Was it the UN who created it? What is at the heart of the conflict between the Palestines and Israelis? You know that kind of stuff...I love you guys and pray that you'll continue to have an adventure every day and be safe.

The Dunns said...

From your description of the Western Wall, it sounds like God is answering my prayer for you-that you will have important experiences which you can think about and share for a lifetime. Praise God, and may He bless you with more and more.

The Holocaust Exhibit is in Georgetown until February. It will most likely be our next field trip. We are eager to hear about Eric's first field trip.

Thanks for the guided tour of Israel. Beth is right, you all should be in great shape by the time you get back.

Keep the pictures coming. BTW, I'm glad your weather is nice. It is FREEEEZING here.